New In Box, Build But Keep The Box, or Discard The Box?
As I write this Melbourne has been plunged back into lockdown. To distract myself, I decided to get out my magnifying glass and do some detective work. While others are busy hoarding toilet paper and stockpiling frozen goods, I am doing a deep dive investigation into the sometimes-controversial matter. LEGO box integrity and all matters that surround these cardboard treasures.
Four Personality Types
To really understand the issues around LEGO boxes, I think it is important to raise that not unlike the Myers-Briggs personality classification, AFOLS also fall into four key personality demographics:
Artist (A) – This AFOL purchases sets with the intention of creating MOCS from their parts.
Builder (B) – This AFOL purchases sets with the intention of building them for display.
Collector (C) – This AFOL is on a mission to own every set in their area of interest. They often have a crossover with the Builder (B) personality in that they do open their sets and build them for display. However, it is not unusual for them to have a cupboard (or an entire room) dedicated to their “pile of shame” or “tower of pride”, which is a large collection of still in the box unopened sets.
Investor (I) – This AFOL purchase sets knowing that as they age and are retired from general distribution. They will increase in value and may actually be a more solid investment choice than crypto-currency.
Now while I explain the link between the personality categories and the boxes, you can reflect on which group, or groups, you fall into. Then add an “I” for Introvert or “E” for Extrovert to get your own LEGO acronym. Mine would be ABE (Extrovert Builder Artist).
So let me delve into the research and provide some ground-breaking insight for you. (Okay we all know it isn’t ground-breaking but this is how I hype you up and keep you engaged in my article).
You don’t seem to care about the boxes, as soon as your beautiful array of LEGO bricks is out of the bag and added to your creativity room you fling that box straight into the recycle bin.
You don’t have a huge care factor for the humble box either. You do tend recycle them. However, if said box included stickers and the box arrived damaged you would be checking those stickers carefully to make sure they are in pristine condition. Side note, I hate stickers with a passion! I wish every brick and tile were printed, which I know is financially not viable. But I am one of those people who has just not mastered the art of lining up a sticker.
You care about the box! For the sets that you build you either flatpack your box, or you adopt a Russian Babushka Doll stacking method with your smaller boxes strategically held within the larger boxes. If you order LEGO online and the box arrives damaged you are not happy about this situation. Depending on the price of your item, this might mean a pointed email or a disappointing phone call to your supplier.
The box is life! No one is going to pay the bitcoin rate for a box-less set. You know the value of a pristine piece of cardboard when you see it.
There are three other insights that came from my research that I feel are valuable to share:
Firstly, all groups agree that if you order a LEGO set as a gift and the box arrives damaged, you are sending that back and requesting a replacement. For me I can see two reasons for this.
The obvious one is that gifts are special and want everything perfect. The other thought is that a damaged box might look like you are just re-gifting something that you were given for Christmas.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about people, I’m pretty sure all AFOLs are adept in the art of re-gifting. Dirty Brickster at Brickvention ring a bell?
Second, regardless of which category you fall into, most people agreed that they were more likely to keep one of the Architecture set boxes than another box.
This just left me bewildered. Although it could be due to their additional strength and flip-top lid, meaning they can be repurposed for storage.
Finally, one of my research respondents likened the whole study to being a wine collector. Being in lockdown I immediately identified with this and thought, this man makes an exceptionally good point. He said that he buys wine to drink so why would he keep the box.
Furthermore, I muse that if the current lockdown is extended would the change of daily normality result in people abandoning their LEGO personality classification. In order to make it through the long days at home. If I was an Investor and pride of place in my cellar was a 20-year-old bottle of Penfold’s red, would I be tempted to pop the cork on that beauty?
Likewise, if I had been sitting on a minted box containing the Creator Expert Palace Cinema would that survive 7 days of 24/7 homeschooling?
To keep the box or not to keep the box? Shakespeare didn’t actually ask that question but I did, and whatever your answer is. We can all agree on one thing, LEGO is life and thank goodness those precious boxes exist!
Happy building AFOLs.
Thanks for Richard from The Rambling Brick & Bilsy for their box photos.
Thank you for reading
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